Only in 2020: Reflections on Marine & Trade

How many times have you said, “Only in 2020” this year any time a new, unimaginable story pops up? Pandemic. Murder hornets. Wildfires. Monoliths. Only in 2020! This has been a trying and difficult year for our region. Still, despite everything that 2020 has thrown at us, we’ve been inspired by the many ways our partners and colleagues have gone above and beyond to lift up those around them.

As we close out 2020, we’re taking some time to remember these moments of kindness.

To kick things off, we’re celebrating the incredible work of our Marine team and partners who flipped the script on 2020 and gave us moments of hope. They showed us what “community” is all about.

Welcoming New Partners

In January, before the year would be flipped on its head, we welcomed a weekly container service back to T-6 for the first time in years. This weekly service, provided by Korea-based SM Line, continued to do well throughout the year – finishing with about 31,000 containers handled in 2020. In a year of supply chain uncertainty and economic disruption, SM Line provided a consistent option for regional shippers.

Together with the ongoing BNSF Intermodal Service, Terminal 6 was buzzing like it hadn’t been in years. We know this wouldn’t be possible without the longshore workers who have been highly productive and held a steadfast commitment to safety.

Jumping into Action

Then, just months later, the pandemic hit, and our world changed. But the heart of our partners never wavered.

Back in March, when many people were struggling due to stay-at-home orders, Port staff – along with some of our Marine partners – scrambled over one weekend to help shipping containers get delivered to a local food bank so they could store more food. SnowCap, which serves people in East Multnomah County, filled the containers with about 1,900 food-boxes, keeping the food fresh so they could distribute it to people in need.

The year also saw our Korea-based colleague, Shawn Kim, send care packages to Marine colleagues when the pandemic began to hit Oregon, including Tylenol and gloves. That small gesture, from all the way across the Pacific Ocean, went such a long way for our Marine team.

Shawn, pictured with his wife and son, at the Vista House in Oregon, which they visited last year.

Honoring One Of Our Own

Our Navigation team also made their way onto the Columbia River to lead our annual work to maintain a channel for international trade. With new social distancing guidelines in place, our team went out in the Dredge Oregon – safely ensuring the river was at least 43 feet deep to allow container ships and other large vessels to travel up the river into Portland. We also had a new navigation vessel to help out – named after a former Port of Portland employee.

Orin L Green navigation boat

Goodbye, 2020

Don’t get us wrong. Like you, we are ready to slam the door on 2020. Still, in a year where new obstacles seemed to come at us weekly, we know there’s plenty of hopeful memories thanks to some incredible Port partners.

Only in 2020 could we rise above the chaos and do great things for one another. It’s what this region does.

Related:
Only in 2020: Reflections on Environmental Sustainability
Only in 2020: A Year Like No Other at PDX
Only in 2020: Our Community Comes Together